By Brian Santo, EETimes (October 27, 2021)
TSMC, now chugging along with its N5 process node, said it will have its evolutionary N4 node ramped up to volume production this year. The N3 node, which will provide more of a technological leap than N4, is planned to go into volume production in the second half of 2022. N3 will indeed offer customers the kind of performance improvements they might hope for from a major node jump, though the speed improvement will be at the low-end of TSMC’s projected aspirations from last year; the company also just missed its target for density improvement.
The announcements were made at a TSMC house event, the 2021 Online OIP Ecosystem Forum.
The foundry also highlighted the participation of its EDA partners in helping to support the N3 node, to assure eager chip designers that the tools to design and test ICs for N3 will be ready and available. Synopsys jumped the gun; it announced its tools for supporting N3 a full week before TSMC’s event. Cadence subsequently had its quarterly earnings call and mentioned its products supporting N3 only after being chided by an analyst for not responding immediately to Synopsys. Siemens waited until the opening day of TSMC’s conference to announce its N3 tools.